New Year Gift Traditions
In France, Switzerland, Russia and Greece, this tradition of New Year Day gifting continued even before the birth of Christ. While in the US, it originated from the old customs of the German and Dutch states. Today, we can see most of the people engaged in gift-giving rather than the New Year’s Day.Tradition of New Year gifting from Celts and Romans
The Celts prepared gifts of mistletoe to mark the beginning of the year. Romans called such gifts Strenae symbolizing goddess of luck, Strenia. At first, gifts were branches of the sacred plant. But, later these gifts comprised of nuts and coins bearing the imprints of God Janus (who had two faces). In Rome, it developed as a compulsory tradition of payment, until forbidden by the Pope in 458 AD.
Tradition of New Year gifting from English and Scots
Queen Elizabeth of England also forced its people to present her variety of gifts on the occasion of New Year. She made it a mandatory custom until it declined when Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came into power.
Some most popular gifts of the time were gloves and oranges stuck with cloves used to preserve and flavor wine. This practice of New year gift-giving was brought to America by English and French who celebrate it earnestly till date.
In Scotland, New Year is the major festival. It is the biggest feast of the year. It is said people in Scotland observed the day by going door to door begging for food and singing ditties. One of the famous ditty is:
” I wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year,
A pocketful of money
And a cellar full of beer,
And a good fat pig
To serve you all the year.”
NEW YEAR FUN